Meet International Golfer Minami Levonowich

Minami Levonowich is a woman of the world. She was born in England to a Japanese mother and American father. As a child she lived in England, Russia, Switzerland and the United States. Today she lives in Japan and works in Taiwan.

It must be difficult for friends and family to keep up with her!

Levonowich is a professional golfer whose journey includes being part of the University of Kansas women's golf team. But today she plays primarily on the Taiwan LPGA Tour. From her current home base in Japan, Minami is able to play tournaments across Asia, not just Taiwan but also Korea, China and Southeast Asia.

At recent tournaments in the Philippines, Minami was excited to find four fellow Kansas Jayhawks playing those events, too. It "blew my mind because no other school came even close to that," she said.

Levonowich's itinerant childhood serves her golf well today, she believes: "Since I grew up playing golf in 'European' weather, I feel like my golf style is good for harsh, windy conditions, and maybe that’s why I fit well in Kansas and Taiwan because it's also known to be very windy there."

Her family ultimately moved to the United States so Minami could pursue golf more seriously at the IJGA golf academy in South Carolina. She spent her high school years there, which led to the scholarship offer from Kansas. Her senior season at KU was 2014-15.

Living in Japan now and playing tournaments across Asia has opened up other opportunities for her, too. She's done some modeling and has appeared on multiple television shows.

One of those TV shows was the KLPGA-themed Cinderella Story, a Big Break-style competition for golfers from various Asian countries (plus Minami, who represented the U.S.) competing for opportunities to play in Korea.

"We spent about two days in Seoul at this amazing hotel called Paradise City where we filmed the title screen, and then we flew to Malaysia and did all the challenges," she said. "It was one of the best experiences of my life and those 11 girls became like family to me since we did almost everything together."

One of the results of her television time is that Minami is now sometimes recognized by fans who've seen her on TV. "It still feels so new to me, so when people come up to me saying they saw me on TV, I get so shocked," she said.

What does the future hold for Levonowich? She'd love to make it onto the Japan LPGA: "That has always been my dream from when I was in college. However, it’s one of the harder tours to get into." She's also establishing a recruiting business, matching young Japanese golfers with American colleges.

A return to the U.S. is something she looks forward to, too.

"I love the U.S. and eventually I want to move back, but for now there are just too many opportunities for me here."

One of those opportunities comes up in February, when Minami plans to take a shot at another tour, playing the China LPGA's Q-School.

You can follow Minami's journey on Instagram (@ minami.levonowich) and Twitter (@MinamiAnna93).

2018: The Summer of Yealimi Noh

Yealimi Noh is having quite the summer in 2018. On Sunday, July 22, she won her third big tournament - and it's the biggest of them all for juniors: The U.S. Girls' Junior Championship.

Noh defeated 13-year-old Alexa Pano, 4 and 3, in the championship match, which was played just four days before Noh's 17th birthday. In the quarterfinals, Noh defeated Valery Plata of Colombia, 7 and 5; and in the semifinals she beat Gina Kim of North Carolina.

Noh, from Concord, Calif., entered the 2018 U.S. Girls' Junior ranked No. 54 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. She'll obviously be moving up. Eventually, she'll be moving on the UCLA for college golf (at least that is the plan as of now).

Earlier this summer Noh won the AJGA's Hana Financial Group Se Ri Pak Junior Championship, one of the big events of junior golf. And just a couple weeks ago she won another of the "junior majors," the Junior PGA Championship, with a record-setting score of 24-under 264.

Muni He Collects Her First Symetra Tour Victory

Muni He has the change to become a major star in golf and she took a major step in the right direction by winning the Symetra Tour's 2018 Prasco Charity Championship. The tournament, played in Cincinnati, Ohio, concluded on July 1.

He won comfortably, finishing four strokes ahead of runner-up Becca Huffer. He carded rounds of 65, 69 and 67, finishing at 15-under 201.

He, who is from China and whose nickname is Lily, is in her rookie year as a pro after spending two seasons on the University of Southern California golf team. In nine previous appearances on the Symetra Tour in 2018, Muni's previous best finish was a tie for seventh place. That was her only Top 10 until winning the Prasco Charity Championship.

He boasts a stellar pedigree in junior and amateur golf. She is also, as might guess from the photos, an amateur model. She has more than 140,000 followers on Instagram. And as her golf career heats up, expect her modeling career to heat up, too.

A post shared by Lily (@lilymhe) on

Why There's a 6 at the End of Jeongeun Lee's Name

Should we say that Jeongeun Lee possesses quite a bit of ... six appeal?

If you follow women's golf and, specifically, check the scores of tournaments, then you have noticed something odd. In scores, Korean golfer Jeongeun Lee's name often includes the number "6." It appears in the scores as Jeongeun Lee6, for example. Or, sometimes, as Jeongeun6 Lee.

Here are two examples, screenshots of the USGA and LPGA leaderboards from the 2018 U.S. Women's Open, showing both versions:

What's up with that?

Have to admit, when I first noticed this I thought something was being lost in translation from the Korean. But no, it's just a six, and it's there at Jeongeun Lee's request.

The explanation is simple. When Lee first arrived on the Korean LPGA several years ago, she found five other Lees named Jeongeun already on tour. So she added the "6" to differentiate herself from the rest. Now you know.

Louise Ridderstrom Wins with Course Record

Louise Ridderstrom won her first Symetra Tour trophy in grand style: by setting the course scoring record.

In fact Ridderstrom, from Sweden, posted a personal best competition score in the second round, then lowered that score in the final round.

In the end, she won by four strokes at the 2018 Valley Forge Invitation. Her scores were 69-65-69 for a total of 16-under 197. Ridderstrom birdied three of the final five holes, including the last.

“Winning is hard, but if it’s your turn, then it’s your turn. I was telling myself that all day,” Ridderström told SymetraTour.com. “My one and only goal today was to concentrate on myself and try to hit the best shot that I could possibly hit every single shot. It was just one shot at a time and I think I stuck pretty well to that.”

Louise turned pro following an NCAA golf career with UCLA that concluded in 2016. She majored in International Development Studies.

Her rookie year on the Symetra Tour was 2017, and Ridderstrom made eight cuts in 14 starts. So far in 2018, Louise has made a clear jump up in performance. In her two most-recent starts, she posted a tie for fifth place and now the win at the Valley Forge.

A couple swing videos that Ridderstrom has shared on social media:

Shi Yuting Is Young Chinese Golf Star In the Making

Shi Yuting is an up-and-coming golf on Asian tours and just won a tournament on the China LPGA Tour (CLPGA) for the second consecutive year.

Shi won the 2018 Le Coq Sportif Beijing Ladies Classic, beating Keh Munchin of New Zealand in a playoff. Shi opened the tournament with a score of 73, then posted back-to-back 66s to finish at 11-under 205.

She also won the tournament in 2017, one of several titles Shi has won on the Chinese tour.

Shi herself was born in Japan but plays under the Chinese flag. In 2017, she was a rookie on the Japan LPGA Tour (JLPGA). She also has tournament appearances on the Thai LPGA and Ladies Asian golf tours.

And on the LPGA Tour, in a handful of events. Shi, who is 20 years old at the time of this writing, posted a pair of Top 60 finishes in LPGA Asian stops in 2016, when she was 18.

Still in the earliest stages of her career, Shi has developed a reputation as a fashion icon, both on and off the golf course.